RAIL operator Aurizon has reported underlying earnings before interest and tax of $941m for the 2018 financial year, a 6% increase from financial year 2017.
Chairman Tim Poole said this result was reported in the context of regulatory uncertainty.
Mr Poole said the growth in underlying EBIT stemmed from “transformation initiatives and improved earnings in the coal and bulk businesses.
“The board commends our team for exceeding the $380m three-year transformation target, with $134 million of benefits delivered this financial year,” he said.
“The board supports management’s commitment to the ongoing delivery of transformation benefits through building a culture of continuous improvement.”
Mr Poole said there had been four key priorities for Aurizon during the 2018 financial year.
“The first was to receive an acceptable draft decision from the Queensland Competition Authority in relation to the access undertaking of our regulated Network business,” he said.
“The second was to focus on resolving the future of our Intermodal business and the final two priorities were to improve the performance of our bulk business and to achieve our transformation targets.”
He said regulatory decisions continued to be significant challenges for Aurizon and a source of uncertainty.
“As we enter FY2019, we remain committed to pursuing commercially sustainable outcomes for both the network access undertaking and the exit of the Queensland Intermodal business,” Mr Poole said.
“At the time of writing, these issues were subject to regulatory and legal review but nonetheless remain key priorities for the board and our senior team.
“With respect to the Central Queensland Coal Network, in the longer term, we will continue to advocate for a regulatory framework that is simpler, commercially-oriented to provide certainty and stability that will support continued investment in and growth of, the Queensland coal sector.”